Marlboro Planning Board approves house of worship on Union Hill Road

MARLBORO – The Planning Board has placed its final stamp of approval on an applicant’s proposal to construct a house of worship at 523 Union Hill Road, Marlboro, east of Route 9.

Representatives of The Church in Marlboro appeared before the board in March to describe their plans for a new building. A vote among board members at that time indicated the plan had received municipal approval.

In May, the board members passed a resolution which memorialized their decision. The applicant was represented by attorney Salvatore Alfieri.

The Church in Marlboro plans to construct a 7,680-square-foot, split-level house of worship with a 220-seat sanctuary, meeting rooms, office space, restrooms and a lobby on the upper level. The lower level will contain a multi-purpose room, meeting rooms, restrooms and a kitchen, according to the application.

The 9.7-acre parcel on Union Hill Road is opposite Willow Lane and adjacent to the Asher Holmes Elementary School. An existing home on the lot will be demolished, according to the applicant.

During testimony, David Lu, the property owner and a founding member of the congregation, said The Church in Marlboro was founded in 1996 by Chinese, Mandarin and English speaking Christians. The congregation attained nonprofit status in 1999.

Lu said the congregation consists of about 60 families from the community. He said at present, The Church in Marlboro rents facilities from the Marlboro K-8 School District and conducts Sunday morning services, monthly gospel meetings on Saturday evenings and other events.

Lu testified he purchased the property at 523 Union Hill Road in 2017 to construct a house of worship. He said the congregation is run by volunteers and does not have full-time pastors. He said he expects that to remain the case with the new facility.

Lu said no large celebrations are held in the facilities where the congregation currently rents space and he said he expects that to remain the case in the new building.

He said only the religious portion of weddings or funerals would take place in the building on Union Hill Road and he said those services would be limited to weekends.

Testimony indicated the kitchen is expected to be used only to reheat food, with no cooking taking place in the building.

Engineer John Ploskonka testified there would be 78 parking spaces provided at the site, with four spaces reserved for individuals who have a handicap.

Ploskonka said The Church in Marlboro application adheres to a section of Marlboro’s municipal code which describes conditions that must be met to place a house of worship in a residential area.

Testifying on behalf of the applicant, Scott Kennel of McDonough and Rea Associates said the house of worship should not have a significant effect on vehicle movement because traffic on Union Hill Road is lighter on Sunday than on other days.

Kennel testified that the proposed driveway for the house of worship would be safe and efficient.